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Italian anthropologist's 90-year old exhibition of Zulu culture

Italian anthropologist's 90-year old exhibition of Zulu culture

Cape Town - A photographic exhibition of photographs taken by Italian anthropologist Lidio Cipriani during an expedition in South Africa in the late 20s, will take place in Pietermaritzburg in the country's KwaZulu-Natal province, the very region where the material was shot.

The Italian Cultural Institute in Pretoria and the Dante Alighieri Society in Pietermaritzburg have collaborated to bring the exhibition to the South African people. It will open at the Old Prison heritage site and museum on October 1.
The display, consisting of 47 photographs, will be accompanied by a silent movie shot with local actors portraying the group who went on the original anthropological expedition led by the Italian explorer and filmmaker Captain Attilio Gatti. 
Cipriani, an anthropologist from the University of Florence, and Gatti led the expedition to Zululand, the traditional homeland of the old Zulu Kingdom in the northeastern section of present-day KwaZulu-Natal, in 1927. The region was and still is home to the Zulu people, the largest ethnic group in South Africa, with an estimated 10-11 million people living in this province.
According to the Italian Cultural Institute, the expedition team landed in Durban, a coastal town in Kwazulu-Natal, and made their way to Eshowe, in the heartland of the Zulu Kingdom.

"There Gatti made the movie "Siliva Zulu" (62') - a romantic look at Zulu life, while Cipriani took a number of pictures of Zulu people in an attempt to capture their idyllic pastoral lifestyle, albeit through a colonial gaze. These records, once contextualised and separated from the political beliefs of their creators, become very important historical and anthropological documents," the institute said.
After its rediscovery in Pretoria by the then director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Pretoria, a first exhibition round of the movie and photographs was organised in Johannesburg and Cape Town in 2011. In 2015, the project was redeveloped and displayed in Centurion, Pretoria.